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Number 74 on the periodic table of elements, Tungsten, from the Swedish words “tung” and “sten,” which literally translates to “heavy stone,” is the heaviest usable element. With a melting point of 6192℉, it is also the most temperature resistant metal of all those known today.

In addition, non-alloyed tungsten has the lowest vapor pressure of all non-alloyed metals. On top of this, tungsten and tungsten alloys boast high density, tensile strength, excellent corrosion resistance, and exceptional electric and thermal conductivity. Given its highly desirable qualities, tungsten suppliers receive demand for their product in many industries, including consumer products, construction, electronics, electricity and lighting, engineering, industrial manufacturing, jewelry, mining, and medical supply.

Tungsten suppliers typically carry the metal in four different forms: pure tungsten, tungsten carbide, tungsten-based chemicals, and tungsten alloys. Pure tungsten, mainly used in electrical applications, is exceedingly electrically conductive. It is used for very little else because, in its raw state, tungsten is very brittle and difficult to manipulate, particularly with applied pressure. Tungsten carbide, which is half carbon, is a much more widely used form of tungsten.

Tungsten carbide is denser than both titanium and steel, twice as hard as any grade of steel and extremely wear resistant. As such, this inorganic chemical compound is popular with many mining, construction, and metalworking applications. Suppliers offer tungsten carbide in over 20 different grades, each exhibiting unique tensile strengths, melting points, grain sizes, and hardness. The rarest form of element offered by tungsten suppliers is the tungsten-based chemical. When they are purchased, tungsten-based chemicals are used to make x-ray screens, pigment phosphors and organic dyes.

Finally, alloyed tungsten is available in many combinations. Commonly it is alloyed with metals like copper, iron, or cobalt. When mixed with metals like the two former ones, tungsten alloys are used to make products like turbine blades, heat sinks, armaments, ballasts, weights, and other high-density items. When joined with cobalt, tungsten becomes a substance called cemented carbide, which is used in cutting applications. In addition, because cobalt balances out the brittleness of tungsten, cemented carbide can be used for structural applications. Other alloys, called tungsten heavy-metal alloys, are upwards of 90% tungsten. Read More…

Leading Manufacturers

Metal Associates

Pompton Plains, NJ | 800-838-1978

Metalmen

Long Island City, NY | 800-767-9494

Elmet Technologies, Inc.

Lewiston, ME | 800-343-8008

H. Cross Company

Weehawken, NJ | 201-863-1134

Mi-Tech Metals, Inc.

Indianapolis, IN | 800-624-1895


The coloring of tungsten ranges between a tin white and steel gray. Sometimes called “wolfram,” tungsten is made functional when, after it is mined, it is ground into powder and then sintered or molded into solid billets. After they are made into billets, they can be formed into many shapes via methods such as die cutting, drawing, and molding.

Some tungsten products require additional processing; there are three different conditions that solid tungsten can achieve through said processing: black, a state in which a coating of a lubricant and an oxide is maintained; ground, a state that is reached when tungsten has been machined with silicone carbide or diamond tools to remove the coating and attain a certain level of smoothness; and cleaned, a state in which the coating has been removed by chemicals.

Common forms into which tungsten is formed include bar, foil, plate, rod, sheet, and wire. Other frequently formed tungsten products include light bulbs, x-ray screens, cathode tube filaments, vacuum tube filaments, drilling equipment, airplane parts, weapons, construction equipment, tools, industrial machinery components, and tungsten electrodes, which are used during electric arc welding, a process that joins two separate pieces of metal by applying high heat emitted by the voltages of electric currents. In addition, tungsten can be used as coating applied to tools to significantly increase their lifespan.

Since its initial identification in 1781, tungsten has grown very popular with heavy duty applications. Annually, about 45,000 tons of tungsten are mined, mainly from Russia and China. Several more thousand tons than this may be used per year, however, because it is so frequently recycled and reused.

Tungsten Informational Video